Art. or Giant Eyesore? Standing Proud or Standing Joke? Statue Will Tower 48 Metres

Article excerpt


WE'VE had the 'stilletto in the ghetto' (The Spire), the 'time in theslime' ( millennium clock) and the 'floozie in the jacuzzi' (the Anna Liviastatue), but now Dublin Docklands bosses are bravely asking the public to namethis 48-metre high basket man.

Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley, famous for his Angel of the Northsculpture in northeast England, has been commissioned to create this metalstructure of a human form that will tower out of the River Liffey, close to theSe*n O'Casey Bridge.

Standing just a few metres shorter than Liberty Hall, there will be no missingthe giantsized replica of the artist's body.

A spokesman for the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) admitted itwas as yet nameless, and that they were looking for help in finding a suitablemoniker.

'It is expected that the name of the artwork will evolve during the design andconstruction of the sculpture,' she said.

'Anyone who wishes to submit a name for consideration can do so through theDocklands website or by contacting the DocklandsAuthority office on Sir JohnRogerson's Quay.' The DDDA hope the statue will be a 'signpost' for therealignment of the city centre down towards the docks, tying in with projectssuch as the new Point Village, the re- sited Abbey Theatre and the new GrandCanal Theatre.

It will cost an estimated E1.6million, and if planning permission is granted,construction will begin next year.

It will take around ten months to build.

The Gormley statue, to be constructed from an open latticework of steel coveredwith black bitumen, was picked after a yearlong selection process againstinternational competition. Its open-weavedesign will allow light to permeate through and will allow visibility in alldirections.

Antony Gormley described it as being 'like a charcoal drawing against the sky,changing as your position changes in relation to it'.

He explained: 'Up close, you will see through it, in the distance it willcohere into a bodily image.' The sculpture will appear different depending onwhere it is viewed from within the city and depending on the light levels atdifferent times of the day and in different seasons.

Paul Maloney, chief executive of the DDDA which commissioned the work, said itcame at an important time in the Docklands project. 'The delivery of theDocklands Arts Strategy is now well on its way with the appointment of AntonyGormley for this sculptural commission, closely following the commencement onsite of the new Grand Canal Theatre and the commitment of a site for ournational theatre, the Abbey at George's Dock,' he said.

Awarded the Turner Prize in 1994 and the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in1999, Antony Gormley is one of Britain's most celebrated artists.

Since the 1980s his work has focused on the human figure, using his own body asthe starting point.

Comment - Page 14Let's welcome a 'magnificent, modern Gulliver of our times' by Roslyn DeePICTURE this: a giant steel figure, rising Excalibur-like from the waters ofthe Liffey, towering 160ft over Dublin's docklands and dwarfing all those whowalk in its shadow along the river's edge or across the city's new Sean O'CaseyBridge. Wow!

Antony Gormley's artistic proposal for Dublin is, as he says himself,'something that is unequivocally of its time'.

Located in a part of the city that is developing at a rapid pace and in an areathat best reflects the new, exciting modernity of our burgeoning Europeancapital city, Gormley's sculpture screams 'New Ireland' from the top of itshead right to its tip, some 48metres below, where it plunges into the waters ofthe Liffey.

Too big, too modern, a bit too gross for you? Ah, yes, you'll be one of thePrince Charles brigade then. What's wrong, you'll be saying, with building aclassical period piece in the heart of our capital city? …